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‘All is not well with civil-military relations’

August 10, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat) on Wednesday released its monitor on Civil Military Relations for the month of July claiming that “All is not well with civil-military relations”.

The report, which has been released after the disqualification of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Panamagate case, predicts that the relations may further worsen during coming days.

“Nawz Sharif’s statements against the military establishment have become more pronounced after his disqualification. On the other hand Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has also given a statement for upholding the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution,” President Pildat Ahmed Bilal Mehboob said while talking to Dawn.

He said that Army did not give that sort of statements and usually foreign office or other ministries issue such statements.

“I believe that civil military relations would go from bad to worse and may create crisis like situation in coming days,” he said.

“Moreover, there is big difference in civil-military point of view over relations with India and Afghanistan,” Mr Mehboob said.

The monitor claims that two meetings of National Security Committee (NSC) were held in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 not a single meeting of NSC was held in 2016 once again two meetings were held.

However in 2017 three meetings have been held during last three months.

“Though mostly issue of Afghanistan was discussed at the NSC meetings, it also clears that there is difference of opinion over the issue between government and military establishment,” Mr Mehboob said.

International perspective

The monitor claims that disqualification of Nawaz Sharif for being ‘not honest’ under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution has raised myriad questions and concerns that should be addressed thoroughly.

While the Supreme Court judgment has evoked mixed reactions at home, the outside world seems to have used a singular lens to view and interpret the developments. That lens is that of civil-military relations and its impact on consolidation of democracy in Pakistan.

The international media comments range from opinions that ‘ corruption is not the main reason for Mr Sharif’s predicament’ but instead it is ‘ crossing the Military by pursuing conciliatory policies towards India as well as Afghanistan and by reportedly demanding that Inter-Services Intelligence end its use of militant groups as tools of foreign policy, monitor claimed.

Javed Hashmi’s diatribe

It is highlighted that former federal minister and a former leader of both PML-N as well as the PTI Mr Javed Hashmi in a press conference on July 12, 2017 criticised the Panama Paper’s investigation as ‘a ploy to oust Nawaz Sharif.’ He went on to say that ‘politicians have always sacrificed for the country but there has been no one who can try generals and judges who commit wrongdoings.

Mr Hashmi expressed his exasperation at the lack of accountability of former military generals who had violated the constitution. He was also critical of the Supreme Court’s history as according to him ‘it did nothing when the Constitution was trampled in the past’ while referring to its role in legitimising military coups, monitor claimed.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2017